What can a Quaker meeting do to become stronger, more visible and more welcoming? This question has as much to do with inreach - deepening the spiritual life of the meeting community - as it does with outreach - our message and witness to the world.
Often the simple act of thinking about welcoming newcomers, of getting ready to receive them, and of preparing to integrate them into the life of the meeting, will give new life to a meeting.
What is Quaker Quest?
Quaker Quest is a program of spiritual deepening and meaningful transformation for Quaker meetings that are considering reaching out to newcomers. It affirms that the Quaker way is a simple, radical, and contemporary spiritual path, and encourages Quakers to share their spiritual experiences. Quaker Quest was developed by Quakers in England and adapted by FGC.
How does it work?
There are two phases to Quaker Quest. Throughout the process, FGC provides leaders and on-going support for the meetings. In the first phase, trained facilitators lead the meeting in an exploratory Full-Day Workshop. This is a time to share spiritual stories, deepen community, and reveal the gifts your meeting has to offer each other and the world. Many meetings have found this to be nourishing, essential work. Above all, it is fun!
If a meeting discerns to move forward and hold public sessions to share the Quaker way with newcomers, facilitators lead the meeting in a Half-Day Preparation Session prior to the meeting's first event. Providing spiritual hospitality presents unique challenges and opportunities, and Quaker Quest is a tried and true method for approaching The meeting community is trained how to effectively reach out to seekers while staying grounded in the vitality of its spiritual life.
Albany Meeting's reflections on the Half-Day Prep Session (2.5 min video)
After the Half-Day Preparation Session, the meeting will hold a series of public sessions. This is an opportunity to share our faith with with the broader community and welcome seekers. The meeting publicizes the public sessions, using flyers and pamphlets, radio ads, their website, and more. Three to four topics are offered in a series, such as Quakers and God or Quakers and Peace, with Friends sharing their personal journeys rather than speaking about Quaker history. Each topic is offered more than once, and the sessions are held over a period of several months to maximize the opportunity for newcomers to attend.
Out of Quaker Quest process, meetings and individuals have found that deep conversations and sharings have begun, faith has been deepened, connections with others in the meeting has been strengthened, and growth has happened—spiritually and, often, numerically.
How can my meeting get involved?
First, gather information about Quaker Quest and talk to others in your community about how it could benefit the meeting. Ask yourselves searching questions.
- Does your meeting want to deepen its community and relationship with others?
- Is the meeting interested in new ways to connect with new people in the community?
Let FGC know you are exploring Quaker Quest with your meeting.
Working with others in your meeting, bring a request to business meeting for discernment. If approved, then request a Full-Day Workshop from FGC.